Masta Ace & Marco Polo Announce Richmond Hill, Their Next Collaborative Album
Releasing Digitally and On Vinyl on January 26th via Fat Beats
The Celebrated Rapper/Producer Duo Shares “Life Music” ft. Speech (of Arrested Development), Stricklin, and E Smitty, the New Single & Video From the Project
Masta Ace & Marco Polo Prepare the Anticipated Follow-Up to the Acclaimed 2019 Album A Breukelen Story, Welcoming Appearances From Inspectah Deck, Blu, Coast Contra, Che Noir, and More
“Rap legend Masta Ace is well over 30 years in the hip-hop game, but he’s still finding new wells of inspiration to tap into. The latest is the production of Canadian hip-hop beat maker Marco Polo” – UPROXX
Acclaimed rap veterans Masta Ace & Marco Polo transform personal stories into universal sentiments using just their beats and rhymes. Today, the Brooklyn rapper and the Canadian producer announce Richmond Hill, their upcoming collaborative album. Coming to you via Fat Beats, Richmond Hill is available on vinyl and all digital platforms on January 26th, and is currently available for pre-order.
The follow-up up their acclaimed 2018 album A Bruekelen Story, which focused on Marco Polo’s life in the big city and his attempts to get into the rap game, Richmond Hill is inspired by Marco’s childhood in the titular neighborhood, a small town in Ontario, just outside of Toronto. Between interstitials about Marco’s passion for hip-hop and cartoons, his struggle with addiction, and the support of his parents, Marco Polo and Masta Ace tackle the issues of the day head-on with clarity, the rapper using his decades-worth of rapping experience to slice through the producer’s warm soul samples and crisp percussion. A cinematic journey that explores how the past echoes through the present, the album welcomes guest appearances from notable names from all eras of rap history, including Inspectah Deck, Coast Contra, Blu, Che Noir, Speech of Arrested Development, Masta Ace’s longtime collaborators Stricklin and Wordsworth, and many more.
Along with the official announcement of Richmond Hill, Masta Ace and Marco Polo share “Life Music” ft. Speech (of Arrested Development), Stricklin, and E Smitty, the new single and music video from the project. Riding a propulsive groove defined by warm electric piano, vibrant organs, and heavenly vocal harmonies, “Life Music” is a direct response to the negativity that permeates the endless scroll, as Ace attempts to switch the energy and emphasize life’s preciousness: “There’s only one choice, that’s life, hope you pickin’ it,” he spits. In his own verse, Masta Ace’s longtime collaborator Stricklin speaks of a near-death experience while on tour, and his long road to recovery. Directed by Parris Stewart, the “Life Music” video follows a young man as he runs through New York City, urged forward by the music as he passes all walks of life.
“I wrote ‘Life Music’ while riding on a local bus to town in Barbados,” says Masta Ace. “Listening to that beat and looking at the masked faces of the working class passengers sitting around me combined with seeing the many impoverished residents in the neighborhoods the bus rolled through, I was inspired to write a song that celebrated life. There are so many songs on the charts that glorify and celebrate death, I felt it was important to rail against those themes which we have somewhat normalized in our culture. I’m challenging the listener to embrace life and reject the negative messages we are constantly being fed in music.”
“Life Music” and the Richmond Hill pre-order arrive as Ace and Polo prepare to embark on the “Richmond Hill Tour,” their European tour. Kicking off in Berlin on November 29th, the tour makes its way through the continent for the next three weeks, stopping in Paris, Milan, Zurich, Cologne, Hamburg, and more. Tickets for the “Richmond Hill Tour” are available at mastaace.com/events.
Stay tuned for Richmond Hill, coming January 26th, and keep an eye out for more announcements from Marco Polo and Masta Ace.
Stream “Life Music” ft. Stricklin, Speech & E Smitty: https://soulspazm.ffm.to/life-music
Watch “Life Music” ft. Stricklin, Speech & E Smitty: https://youtu.be/wF-B-yYKTp8
Pre-save/pre-order Richmond Hill: https://fatbeats.lnk.to/richmond-hill
Richmond Hill tracklist:
- December 26th (skit)
- Brooklyn Heights
- Certified ft. Coast Contra
- Cartunes (skit)
- Hero ft. Inspectah Deck
- Life Music ft. Stricklin, E Smitty & Speech (Arrested Development)
- Below The Clouds ft. Blu
- St. Roberts (skit)
- Heat Of The Moment ft. Pav Bundy
- Jordan Theory
- Money Problems ft. Che Noir
- Scarborough (skit)
- Outside In ft. C-Red & E Smitty
- Plant Based
- December 25th (skit)
- All I Want ft. Wordsworth
Richmond Hill is the second collaborative album by the unlikely compadres of Marco Polo and Masta Ace, who each cut unique paths through the music industry to wind up where they are today. First emerging as a member of the legendary Juice Crew, Masta Ace is one of rap’s most gifted lyricists, releasing acclaimed albums in multiple decades, including 1995’s Sittin On Chrome, 2001’s Disposable Arts, and 2004’s A Long Hot Summer. The Brownsville, Brooklyn native has collaborated with everyone in the game, from MF DOOM to Eminem to Biz Markie, and many more. Ace has kept active for decades, performing a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR in 2018 and writing a hip-hop musical, currently in the read-through stage and aiming for a debut performance in Early 2024.
Since moving to Brooklyn from Toronto in the early 2000s, Marco Polo has established himself as one of the most sought-after producers in the New York underground scene. He has produced for some of the most legendary names in hip-hop, including Scarface, Rakim, Pharaohe Monch, Talib Kweli, Kool G Rap, and many more. He released his debut LP Port Authority in 2007, earning his first of two Juno Award nominations. Marco’s production is a fixture of film and television–most notably, he composed the theme music for the Brooklyn Nets, played during each of their local broadcasts.
Photo credit: @mrwattson
“Life Music” ft. Speech, Stricklin & E. Smitty: https://soulspazm.ffm.to/life-music
Pre-order Richmond Hill vinyl: https://fatbeats.lnk.to/richmond-hill
Pre-save Richmond Hill: https://fatbeats.lnk.to/richmond-hill
Buy tickets for the “Richmond Hill Tour”: http://mastaace.com/events